The feature documentary seems to be continuing to enjoy a golden age, with the thirst for authentic stories seemingly bigger than ever.
Journalists as well as artists are drawn to the documentary, which leads to more and more hybrid approaches to the material, with fiction storytelling touches applied to traditional docs.
To recognize documentaries, Stockholm Film Festival will give out, in additional to the fiction narrative Bronze Horse, a Bronze Horse for documentary feature in a competitive section for contemporary and controversial documentaries.
Among 20 works are Sundance winner “The Wolfpack,” pictured, about six brothers and a sister who are raised in an apartment in New York that they never leave but have access to a film library; “Chuck Norris vs. Communism,” set in 1980s; and “Palio,” about the ancient horse race in Siena, Italy.
The selection also features a local contribution: “The Swedish Theory of Love,” by Erik Gandini, one of Sweden’s highest-profile documentary filmmakers. In 2003, his film “Surplus” won at IDFA, while his 2009 Venice player “Videocracy” stirred up controversy due to its critique of then-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire.
”The Swedish Theory of Love” also competed at CPH:Dox in Copenhagen and will be screened at IDFA in Amsterdam at the end of November, in the masters’ section.
But Gandini is not alone among his countrymen. Eight Swedish docs were screened at CPH:Dox, whereas no less than 10 titles are at IDFA, including the world premieres of Jerzy Sladkowski’s “Don Juan” and “Becoming Zlatan,” about the Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sweden has a good tradition of documentary filmmakers, also nourished also by a government support system. The Swedish Film Institute production funding section has two commissioners now to deal with the increasing applications for funding.
During recent years a remarkable boom for Swedish documentaries has also been noticed at the local box office. The most successful ones, often centered on known (and some less-known) celebrities, play as well as many highly commercial projects.